The Houston Dynamo raced to a 3-1 halftime lead and held on late for a 3-3 draw against the defending MLS Supporters Shield winners Los Angeles Football Club tonight at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex.
The match was Houston’s first competitive fixture in 128 days and was both teams’ first in Group F play at the MLS Is Back Tournament.
Midfielder Memo Rodriguez scored twice for the Dynamo, his second career multi-goal game, and forward Darwin Quintero notched his first two assists for Houston after joining the club over the offseason. Forward Alberth Elis scored his first goal of the 2020 campaign, giving him 31 in his career and moving him into a tie with Giles Barnes for fifth on the club’s all-time scoring chart.
The Dynamo took an early lead just nine minutes in thanks to a great effort from midfielder Memo Rodriguez. The Dynamo Academy alum collected a pass from forward Darwin Quintero 20 yards from goal, used a nifty fake to elude midfielder Latif Blessing and blasted a low shot inside the near post and past a diving effort from LAFC goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.
LAFC equalized 10 minutes later after forward Bradley Wright-Phillips slid to tap in a cross from forward Diego Rossi. Midfielder Latif Blessing started the play by dribbling into danger and drawing defenders before playing it out left to Rossi, who quickly fed it back in to Wright-Phillips.
Houston retook the lead in the 30th minute, with Rodriguez once again finishing it off. This time, Rodriguez ran onto the end of an inch-perfect cross from defender Zarek Valentin at the penalty spot. The midfielder’s first shot was stopped by Vermeer, but the rebound fell to him and he pushed it into the back of the net.
Elis made it a 3-1 Dynamo lead in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time when he powered a headed shot into the back of the net off a free kick from Quintero. The goal was initially ruled offside by the assistant referee, but referee Tim Ford overturned the call after going to video review, and the Dynamo took a 3-1 lead into halftime.
LAFC pulled a goal back through Rossi in the 63rd minute. Rossi collected a pass from midfielder Eduard Atuesta on the right side of the penalty area, took a touch and rifled a shot into the upper left corner of the net from a tight angle to make it 3-2.
LAFC leveled the match in the 69th minute when forward Brian Rodriguez slipped a shot into the back of the net from the left side of the penalty area. Rodriguez got free behind the Dynamo back line after a through ball from Blessing, leaving him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Midfielder Darwin Cerén had a go at the winner for Houston in the 82nd minute when he unleashed a blast from 30 yards, but his shot whistled over the crossbar for an LAFC goal kick. Both teams probed for a winner over the final 10 minutes and stoppage time, but neither defense was willing to concede, leaving both teams walking out with a point from the draw.
The Dynamo return to Group F play this weekend when they face the Portland Timbers at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.